Chris Rurik, contributor and friend of TUSB and current Stanford senior, has been working for nearly two years on a daily blog called All of 100 along with friends Wyatt Roy ’11 and Lara Ortiz-Luis ’11. All of 100 has only one rule: you post exactly 100 words each day. Any format, any style, and any subject are fair game. Recently, they compiled their favorite posts and self-published a book, also called All of 100; the three will be hosting a release party for the book today (Monday 10/4) at French House at 8pm.
I sat down with Chris to talk about writing, the blog, and how the book came to be.
TUSB: What inspired you to make the book?
CR: The book came later; originally, one day I realized wanted to consider myself a writer yet I never really did anything about it. If I wanted to be a great basketball player, I’d shoot free throws everyday to become a good free throw shooter. So I decided I’d make an arbitrary rule to get myself writing every day and not worry about it too much. Something simple that wouldn’t be great literature. So I said, “Ok—100 words every day.” And I told [co-authors Wyatt Roy and Lara Ortiz-Luis], “Can I email what I write to you every day?” And they said, “Yeah sure…Wait, actually this is a cool idea—can we join?”
We created the blog so we could share with each other what we were writing each day. And then really interesting things started happening: since the only restriction is exactly 100 words it’s open to so much interpretation, and because you’re doing it every day you can try a new approach every day . So eventually we realized, “Wow–some of these are really awesome, we’d like to polish them and collect them.” And that’s where the idea for the book came. That started about last September; it’s been about a yearlong process getting it together.
TUSB: Have you edited the pieces at all?
CR: For all of the pieces in the book, we took what we originally wrote and edited them several times, both each other’s and our own.
TUSB: How does it feel working, writing, and editing with two other people whose 100 words are obviously very different than your own?
CR: Writing is generally on our own, but it’s interesting to see what they see as valuable or good. I can write something that I think is brilliant and they’ll be like, “Yeah, it’s…alright.” But through the process of creating the book it’s been really smooth in general, which I think is due to our being friends beforehand. If we disagree on something, we’ll just talk it out instead of yelling at each other.
Now the project is expanding to include more and more people, and so it’s been interesting to see all of these different writing styles come into it and how people take ownership of this idea.
TUSB: Does each of you write 100 words every day?
CR: The idea is that each of us does it every day, but the every day part is a little bit lax right now.
TUSB: What are some of your favorites or favorite inspirations you have drawn from?
CR: It’s really fascinating to go back and read ones that I wrote when I was in certain places, because even if they don’t directly have to do with what I was doing that day I can see what kind of mind state I was in.
Some of the most powerful ones are some poems I wrote after the Chilean earthquake. At that time I needed to express something about what I had just experienced and the 100 word format was a perfect way to do that for me.
TUSB: What do you see in the future for yourself or All of 100?
CR: For myself, I see the limitations of the 100word format. You can’t really develop a character or story very well. I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month this year, so we’ll see how that goes. For the project, the book isn’t really the main focus of it anymore hopefully. Now we just want to inspire people to start writing for themselves.
Copies of the book are available–email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The book release party is tonight, Monday 10/4, from 8:30 to 10pm at French House. An informal reading will happen at 9pm.